Idaho businesses look for a $120 million dollar tax cut, but must be satisfied with $20 million
By Josh Altic
Boise, Idaho: On Tuesday, the Idaho Senate unanimously approved a bill that would relieve businesses of about $20 million in property tax burden. But in comparison to the $120 million dollar property tax repeal, this tax relief was somewhat disappointing to the world of Idaho industry.
If Governor Butch Otter signs the Senate and House approved bill into law, businesses will no longer be required to pay property taxes on the first $100,000 worth of desks, chairs, computers and other personal property and equipment.
Although the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry (IACI) is in favor of the tax relief that was passed, it was a major setback in comparison to a competing proposal that would have eliminated nearly all of $141 million per year property tax burden on business. Alex LaBeau, the president of IACI, has stated that he will return to the legislature to fight for an expansion of the tax relief. Some Senators showed support of such a future attempt, including Republican Senator Jim Rice, who said, "We'll need to continue to work on whittling away this tax, to get rid of it, if we're going to unskew our economy."
However disappointed the businesses of Idaho are with how little relief as passed, some county, city and school district advocacy groups, including the Idaho Association of Counties and the Idaho School Boards Association are very relieved by the passage of this bill instead of the more extensive property tax removal. These groups were concerned that the far-reaching alternative bill would leave counties, schools and other local entities without funding, as they are 50 percent reliant on property tax for their revenue. As it is, the current bill calls for the state to make up the $20 million dollar loss of property tax revenue with redirection of sales taxes.